When the whistle blows on the practice field following the end of one period, senior center Matt Stankiewitch is the first member of the offensive line sprinting to the next drill. Few players on the Penn State roster can say they work harder than Stankiewitch does on the field and in the classroom. The fifth-year senior returns as the most experienced member of the Penn State offensive line in 2012 and a member of the Watch List for the Rimington Trophy, presented to the nation's top center. The lone returning starter on the offensive line will be counted on for leadership and consistently productive play throughout the 2012 campaign. The coaching staff recognized Stankiewitch's efforts in spring drills by awarding him the Red Worrell Award, presented to the offense's most improved player in the spring. The talented and tough Stankiewitch helped anchor a unit that led the Big Ten in fewest sacks allowed last season (14 in 13 games).
Stankiewitch played a vital role in helping clear running lanes for tailback Silas Redd (1,241 yards), giving Penn State a 1,000-yard rusher for the seventh consecutive season. He and the offensive line lifted Penn State to an improvement of 41 rushing yards per game in Big Ten games (178.1 ypg) compared to the initial four non-conference tilts (137.0 ypg). A starter in every game last season and 15 career contests, the physical and driven Stankiewitch led the Nittany Lions in snaps played last year with 966. He earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2011 and is one of the squad's premier students. The former Blue Mountain High School standout gained Dean's List honors with a 3.54 grade-point average during the spring semester. He should be a strong Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America candidate with a 3.42 GPA entering the summer. Stankiewitch is on schedule to graduate in December with degrees in management and advertising/public relations. He is among 11 Nittany Lion returnees from Eastern Pennsylvania.
A first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches, BTN.com and ESPN.com, Stankiewitch started all 25 games the past two seasons. He was instrumental in helping the Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in total offense (437.0 ypg) in conference games and rank second in scoring offense (32.6 ppg) and second in pass offense (283.1 ypg) against Big Ten foes. Stankiewitch helped Penn State gain more than 500 yards of total offense three times in conference play, topped by 546 yards against Indiana, its highest total against a Big Ten foe in four years
One of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy, Stankiewitch helped Matt McGloin break nine Penn State season and career passing records, Allen Robinson break the school season receptions mark (77) and Zach Zwinak to rush for 1,000 yards this season, gaining 100 yards or more in six Big Ten games. Stankiewitch played in the East-West Shrine Game in January.
Stankiewitch helped anchor a unit that led the Big Ten in fewest sacks allowed (14 in 13 games). He played a vital role in helping clear running lanes for tailback Silas Redd (1,241 yards), giving Penn State a 1,000-yard rusher for the seventh consecutive season. Stankiewitch and the offensive line lifted Penn State to an improvement of 41 rushing yards per game in Big Ten games (178.1 ypg) compared to the initial four non-conference tilts (137.0 ypg). A starter in every game, Stankiewitch led the Nittany Lions in snaps played with 966, led by an amazing 97 plays in the win at Indiana. Stankiewitch played an instrumental role in the crucial late-season 20-14 win at Ohio State. The Nittany Lions had their most productive rushing attack of the campaign, gaining 239 yards, averaging a season-best 6.1 yards on 39 attempts. Penn State delivered three of its four longest runs of the season against the Buckeyes, by three players: Silas Redd (42 yards), Stephfon Green (39-yard TD run) and Curtis Drake (38 yards). In the 13-3 win over Iowa, Stankiewitch helped lead the way as Penn State ran for 231 yards, including a then-career-high 142 from Redd. On a pivotal fourth-quarter drive, Penn State ran the ball 10 consecutive times, with the offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage and leading the way to four first downs, to set up a touchdown. In the win over Indiana State, Stankiewitch and the O-line paved the way for 245 yards on the ground. Against No. 2 Alabama, the offense totaled 16 first downs and 251 yards and did not allow a sack against one of the nation's top defenses. In the win over Eastern Michigan, Stankiewitch helped the offense amass a season-high 468 total yards, including 364 through the air, and was part of an effort that did not allow a sack. Stankiewitch was on the front line as Penn State compiled 464 yards of offense, ran a season-high 86 plays and held the ball for 37:27 in the Leaders Division win at Indiana. He was a key part of one of Penn State's top offensive performances of the season in its 34-24 road win over Northwestern. The Nittany Lions rolled up 386 yards of total offense, including a career-high 164 yards rushing from Redd against the Wildcats. In the division victory over Illinois, Stankiewitch helped clear paths for Redd, as he eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the fifth straight game and surpassed the 1,000-yard barrier for the season. Stankiewitch helped the Nittany Lions amass 375 yards of offense on Senior Day against Nebraska.
Stankiewitch played in each of the first six games, but was sidelined by illness the remainder of the season. He saw action on a season-high 24 snaps against Illinois and was on the field for 17 plays each against Youngstown State and Kent State.
The starting left guard against Akron and Syracuse, Stankiewitch saw action in every game on offense and special teams. He helped Penn State gain 515 yards, its second-highest total of the season, in the 31-7 win over the Zips. Stankiewitch saw action on 205 snaps, led by 59 against Akron.
A three-year starter for Coach Chuck Kutz at Blue Mountain HS, Stankiewitch was an Associated Press first-team all-state selection in 2007. The two-way lineman recorded 60 tackles during his senior year and was instrumental in helping his team win the District XI AAA Championship in 2007. ESPN.com ranked him as the No. 5 center in the nation, and he was ranked as the No. 6 center by Rivals.com and the No. 8 guard in the nation by Scout.com. Stankiewitch was an All-America ESPN Under Armour High School Bowl selection and also played in the Big 33 Classic. Stankiewitch was named the Berks Inter-County League Offensive Lineman-of-the-Year, the Reading Eagle All-Anthracite Defensive Player-of-the-Year and to the WNEP-TV Super 16 Dream Team. He was first-team all-conference on offense and defense and was a two-time first-team all-region pick by the Pottsville Republican. He earned second-team all-state honors as a junior. He also played basketball for one year. Stankiewitch was a member of the National Honor Society and the Social Studies Honor Society and was a Blue Mountain Scholar-Athlete.
Full name is Matthew Edward Stankiewitch. His parents are Michael and Lisa Stankiewitch. His older brother, Michael, played basketball at Penn State's Schuylkill campus. Stankiewitch enjoys weightlifting, movies and video games. He is a management major in the Smeal College of Business and owned a 3.35 cumulative grade-point average after the spring semester. He made the Dean's List with a 3.62 GPA during the 2011 spring semester and is on schedule to graduate in December. Born February 8, 1990 in Pottsville, Pa.